COLLECTIVE. Artists and researchers come together to tell the story of the Philippine 'drug war.' Photo from the Sandata Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Young Filipino artists who’ve made it their crusade to tell the stories of those affected by the current administration’s campaign against illegal drugs are trying to raise funds to speak before two American universities.

Sandata – which counts rappers Calix and BLKD as its members – is a collective of artists and researchers who came together in 2016 “as a response to the growing trend of social media-led disinformation and the brutal Philippine Drug War.”

The group was invited to speak before the University of California Berkeley and Harvard Kennedy School from April 20 to May 6.

“While these institutions have generously offered to give partial support for the team's lodging, we still need a significant amount to cover our cost of living and travel expenses. The current economic situation in the Philippines and the rapidly dwindling value of the peso are also added challenges as we travel from coast to coast in America,” the group said in its fundraising page.

They will need over $10,000, which will cover their travel expenses from the Philippines to the US, travel within the US, US visa fees, living expenses, and events to be held in the US.

“We want to reach out with other activists and communities to share experiences and learn from each other on how best to tackle ever-shifting modern social issues,” they added.

Sandata has been doing quite a lot sans the fan fare – talking to family members of those killed because of the “drug war” and relaying those stories to the public at large. The group is also working on a 12-track album inspired by real stories from victims of the “drug war,” among other projects. –

Source: Rappler

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